More than 200 children in Gilbert will receive at least one present underneath their Christmas tree due to the efforts of many volunteers living in a Gilbert active adult community.
Earlier this week, representatives from the Gilbert and Higley unified school districts arrived at Trilogy at Power Ranch to pick up a plethora of presents for students whose families cannot afford to provide a gift for Christmas. The presents were later disseminated to approximately 250 students at several Gilbert and Higley schools.
This marked the second year the residents of Trilogy have connected with the school districts for the holidays, and the 12th year all the members of the community’s Creative Designers have donated to a charitable cause for the season, said group member Barbara Jester. Funds for all of the donations come from the annual holiday boutique in which the Creative Designers sell their homemade wares to the public.
“There’s a lot of talent here, to be quite honest,” Jester said.
The boutique started several years ago with the about five or six members of the active adult community trying to find ways to emphasize the active portion of the description.
As the group grew, members decided to host a boutique to display their work and put it on sale for public use. the most recent event just before Thanksgiving featured 52 tables of goods and performances by Gilbert choir and orchestra members to set a holiday mood.
The Creative Designers actually host two boutiques during a calendar year but the holiday one is a little special and acts as something of a finale for all of the work the members have done.
Part of that is tied to where some of the funds go, as the group will use the funds raised — $6,500 despite the event’s cold and rainy weather conditions — to support the angel tree for the two districts.
She used the phrase “win-win” to describe the situation: the members receive the resulting good feelings from giving and an opportunity to act as faux-grandparents for the kids, and the districts receive a little help in their quest to take care of the students during a tricky time of year.
“It’s extremely important for a child not to be left out during the holiday season,” said Higley Superintendent Denise Birdwell.
Besides the angel tree, the Creative Designers have donated directly to Higley via a $5,000 donation in 2012 to an elementary school library that went to purchase books to help stock the shelves.
Whether it’s the angel tree or that donation, the Creative Designers never actually see the children they’ve fundraised for and donated gifts to. All they have are first names of 250 kiddos across Gilbert and a few things they want, or sometimes need, for the holidays.
But they do hear about the effects their work has on students from Birdwell and from the classroom teachers who gets to see what the presents mean to the children in their community.
“It’s just the little things like that that keep you going,” Jester said.
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